Naval Medal of Honor Recipients at Nashville
Navy Quartermaster John H. Ferrell
(April 15, 1829 – April 17, 1900) was a civilian employee of the Union Navy during the American Civil War and a recipient of the United States military’s highest decoration, the Medal of Honor. He is one of only a handful of civilians to have received the medal. Born on April 15, 1829, in Bedford County, Tennessee, Ferrell was living in Illinois when he was hired by the Navy as a pilot. By December 6, 1864, he was serving in the Cumberland River aboard the USS Neosho. On that day, during an engagement with Confederates at Bells Mills near Nashville, Tennessee, he and Quartermaster John Ditzenbach braved heavy fire to re-raise Neosho’s flag after it was shot down. For this action, both he and Ditzenbach were awarded the Medal of Honor six months later, on June 22, 1865. Ferrell’s official Medal of Honor citation reads:
Served on board the U.S. Monitor Neosho during the engagement with enemy batteries at Bells Mills, Cumberland River, near Nashville, Tenn., 6 December 1864. Carrying out his duties courageously during the engagement, Ferrell gallantly left the pilothouse after the flag and signal staffs of that vessel had been shot away and, taking the flag which was drooping over the wheelhouse, make it fast to the stump of the highest mast remaining although the ship was still under a heavy fire from the enemy.
Navy Quartermaster John Ditzenback
Quartermaster John Ditzenback (born 1828) was an American soldier who fought in the American Civil War. Ditzenback received the country’s highest award for bravery during combat, the Medal of Honor, for his action aboard the USS Neosho (1863) on 6 December 1864. He was honored with the award on 22 June 1865.